Development of an Unmanned Glider for Autonomous Soaring

We will develop an algorithm for a small unmanned glider (a plane-shaped drone) to soar autonomously. Gliders gain energy from the atmosphere by flying in circles in streams of rising air, called thermals. This allows them to stay aloft for extended periods of time, in the range of several hours. Detecting thermals, as well as harvesting energy from them, with an automatic pilot, is the challenge that we are tackling in this work. We will write the program, as well as test it, both in a flight simulator and in the field (with a remote-controlled drone, flying autonomously). The partner organization builds glider-based autopilot solutions for the purpose of monitoring large and remote areas such as forests and fields, hence the need for a reliable thermalling flight controller.

Faculty Supervisor:

Meyer Nahon


Fares El Tin


TandemLaunch Technologies Inc.


Engineering - mechanical



McGill University



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